THE pandemic brought many industries to their knees for well over a year, with travel one of most severely impacted.

With overseas travel almost completely halted for all but essential journeys, airports turned into ghost towns for a large chunk of 2020.

While Wales’s alert level zero, and England’s freedom day have seen day-to-day life return to some form of normality in recent weeks, it will take the aviation industry much longer to return to normal.

Though more and more countries are making their way onto the green list, there are still a large number of overseas travel restrictions in place.

And, with new variants of covid popping up, such as the recent delta strain, there is no guarantee that overseas rules won’t change again.

That being said, the airports in our area – both Cardiff Airport and Bristol Airport, appear to be in a much healthier shape than they were a little over a year ago.

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Today, flights are arriving and departing, perhaps not at a pre-pandemic level, but significantly more than they were during the first lockdown.

It can be difficult to quantify just how empty the airports were during this time, but, satellite imagery taken by Google Earth just might help.

These pictures tend to be rotated out every few months, and therefore hopefully, as with all memories of the pandemic, they will be replaced by pictures of brighter times.

But until then, pictures showing just how empty these airports were in May 2020 for Cardiff, and April 2020 for Bristol, paint a bleak picture.

Usually bustling car parks are seen virtually completely empty, with no one travelling overseas to leave their cars in the long stay parking zones.

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The picture in Cardiff paints something of a false picture though.

With a number of planes on the ground, including six British Airways aircraft, you might be forgiven for thinking that it was another busy day.

Unfortunately, many airlines grounded their fleet during this time, and with Cardiff home to plenty of space, BA opted to leave some aircraft here for a time.

It is worth noting that this situation was not unique for airports in this part of the world. 

Across the UK, similar imagery can be seen overlooking almost all airports - with the likes of Birmingham, with large parking facilities looking especially sparse.

With the introduction of new flights to Germany and Ireland for Bristol, and Scotland for Cardiff, it is hoped that the remainder of the year will see clearer skies for aviation in the area.